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What are some steps I can take to become an Engineer?

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I am a freshman and after college I want to become an engineer. I am curious what steps can I take to become an engineer. #college #engineer

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Angela D.’s Answer

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Greetings Tate!
This is a great question. First off, there are four universities in South Dakota that have engineering degrees, so you won't need to pay out-of-state-tuition if you choose them. You can always attend another university elsewhere, knowing that financial aid may need to chime in. Your parents will need to fill out a FAFSA anyway (which is a free student aid application - https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa...please see more helpful links below). I've listed the SD universities below as well.
Next, you need to take what are called prerequisite courses in high school to prepare you for a degree such as this. Some suggestions are: Calculus (AP preferred), Statistics (AP preferred), Physics (Calculus based and AP is preferred), Computer Science Courses, Engineering or Design Courses, and Robotics Courses. I would suggest shadowing and/or interviewing an engineer. You school counselor may be able to assist with contacts in the community as well as guide your course taking in high school.
Also, you need to decide what type of engineering you like. Please see the following website: https://typesofengineeringdegrees.org/
I used to work part-time at a major engineering firm as a receptionist/assistant when I was going to college. The engineers would travel to inspect job sites, deal with a lot of blueprints, soil, water, and EIR (Environmental Impact) reports, hold meetings, go on field trips to look over equipment and supplies, engage in testing and experimenting on metals in particular, and attend conferences for professional development. Most of them had assistants to help and perhaps you may be able to intern/volunteer at a company or university to explore your interests further.
Wishing you the best, be brave and enjoy the journey, best, Dr. B

- South Dakota State University
- South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
- Black Hills State University
- Augustana (private)

https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/estimate
https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/next-steps/how-calculated
https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/basic-criteria

Angela D. recommends the following next steps:

  • Research your interests within engineering.
  • Shadow and/or interview an engineer.
  • Explore your in-state and out-of-state options for college.
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Charles’s Answer

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Well the world needs more engineers so stick to your goals! I am an electrical engineer and have been working in that field for over 25 years. It is a great career and well worth the effort to get the education you need to do it. My advice, given you are a freshman is to study the basics. Physics and mathematics are both fundamental to almost any engineering field. You can't study too much of either. Also, seek out opportunities to work on assignments and projects that are done in teams. Engineers in the real world almost never work alone. they work in teams. Your ability to lead a team and follow others in team settings is a great soft skill to have. The last thing I would say is to choose the branch/field that excites you and will give your work-life meaning. You don't need to know what that is today, but choose what interests you and your work will be fun.
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Sharon’s Answer

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As you're still in high school, I would focus on the opportunities available to you at your school. Take as many math, science, and computer classes as you can. Also, participate in any clubs or opportunities for robotics, engineering, and coding. I highly recommend exposure to computer science (or coding). If it is not offered at your school, perhaps there is a local community college or other educational opportunity. Meet with your guidance counselor to identify what classes are offered and how you can fit them into your schedule during the remainder of your HS years.
Often public libraries have programs for high school students interested in coding, computers, or engineering. As you're exposed to different types of engineering, you'll gain a better understanding of what you like and what you might not like.
It's not too early to start researching college options, both online and in person. Also, there might be local college fairs and some colleges might make visits to your high school. Ask questions, and identify the requirements you'll need while you're in high school.
Best of luck!
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